How to remove red hair dye without bleach

Red can be a fantastic hair to sport. It’s vivacious and a sure head-turner. However, it’s not as easy to maintain, or for the adventurous newbie, it may be a difficult color to truly like. 

You’ll probably hear bleaching is the quick way to make it vanish. But that’s likely a dark road to take if you already have damaged hair. 

Fret not! Today you’ll learn how to remove red hair dye without bleach. 


How can I get red out of my hair without bleaching it?

How can I get red out of my hair without bleaching it

Red hair dye fades faster relative to other hair colors. Red dye molecules are much bulkier; thus, they do not penetrate inside your hair shaft that deeply. The fading is even more evident if you use a semi-permanent hair dye. 

If you have the Little Mermaid red hair, your hair will eventually turn orange, while if you have wine-red hair, it will turn brown. Overall, faded red hair can look dull and lifeless. 

Are you tired of keeping your red hair? 

You can opt for the following choices discussed below as your escape route. And yes, they do not require you to get a bleach kit! Here’s how to get rid of red hair dye without bleach. 

A darker hue

The excellent news about transitioning to darker hair color is that it can cover up your red hair quite well. 

Of course, if you have bright red hair, any artificial light or sunlight will make the red tone noticeable. Even with black hair dye, that warmth will still peak through when illuminated. 

However, if your desired hair shade is only a level or two darker than your current red hair, you may need to do one more step to achieve your hair goal. This step would require you to correct most, if not the entirety, of the red pigments in your hair through toning.

PS. When referring to a color chart, the terms blonde and brown describe the lightness and darkness of the color, respectively, regardless of the current hue. For example, a cherry blonde belongs to level 7, a medium red blonde. That means that if you neutralize the red pigments, you’ll have hair in the blonde range.

A toner correction on red hair will require you to identify the ash shade that can cool down the warmth in your hair. For example, if you have light red hair, you can use a medium ash brown to get a medium natural brown result. 

The basics: a darker color equals more redness that you can hide equals less toner correction you need. 

Same level, different tone

There are certain advantages to knowing how your current color compares to the hair color chart. In this case, it allows you to pick the correct hair dye that can neutralize your red hair. 

Yes! Not make it darker nor lighter, but merely get the red tinge out while maintaining the same level of blonde or brown. 

Scenario 1: If your current hair falls within levels 3-5, you can use an ash brown hair dye. Most dye products in the brown range have ash tones containing green pigments, which can neutralize the red tones in your hair. 

Scenario 2: If your hair falls to the lighter side, you will need to choose a blonde dye that is one level lighter than your current hair level. So if you are a light red blonde (level 8), for reference, you will require a Redken 9ag Very Light Blond dye to neutralize your red pigments. 

Color removers

If you don’t want to tone your hair and neutralize it, you can always opt for color removers. However, note that most color removers only work for permanent hair dyes

A color remover dissolves the bonds within the artificial color molecules deposited in your hair shaft. Unlike bleach, it doesn’t remove your natural hair color. If you did not pre-lighten your hair before turning it red, you could get back your natural hair color using a color remover.

This is perfect prep if you plan to ditch your red hair for another striking color! 


What color cancels out red hair dye?

What color cancels out red hair dye

When you look at the color chart, it’s easy to spot which color lies opposite red. 

Green toners are popular among naturally dark-haired individuals who bleach them to several shades lighter. Over time, the brassiness manifests as reddish and orange streaks. 

Several types of toners are commercially available, but a green shampoo to remove red dye is a convenient choice. 

  1. Dampen your hair before applying the green shampoo. Massage it on your hair evenly and thoroughly. Let it stay per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Rinse your hair with water and check how much of the red tones did you eliminate. If you neutralize most of it, make a final application for a full minute. If more red tones are left, re-apply and let it stay per instructions.
  3. Once the color has been eliminated to your satisfaction, rinse your hair thoroughly.
  4. Condition your hair to keep it hydrated. 

Green shampoo works well on dark hair with red undertones. They may not prove as effective if you dyed it entirely red or if your hair is on the lighter side. To eliminate the redness in those circumstances, you will have to go for a color stripper or a bleach bath. 


How to remove permanent red hair dye without bleach

Permanent hair dye can be tricky to remove. If you are not the type to wait, then your best option lies in a color remover to get that stubborn permanent hair dye out of your hair once and for all. 

You only need to mix the two bottles into a tinting bowl and then apply it evenly and thoroughly to your hair. Let it stay in your hair per instructions. Afterward, rinse it twice to ensure that all the dissolved dye molecules are entirely out of your hair. 

That’s it! 

But don’t forget to condition your hair to restore its hydration properly. If you don’t fancy any commercial products, try the following DIY below. 


How to remove red semi-permanent hair dye without bleach

How to remove red semi-permanent hair dye without bleach

Semi-permanent hair dyes are not as frustrating to remove as permanent hair dyes. The pigments deposited do not penetrate the cortex. Instead, they sit on the hair's surface and will wash away in a few weeks. 

However, if you don’t want to spend more red days, you can effectively get rid of it using home remedies. Here are some tips on how to remove red hair dye naturally. 

1. Vinegar rinse

Does vinegar remove red hair dye? Absolutely. This especially applies to temporary dyes since they are not too deep into the hair shaft. 

A word of caution: a vinegar rinse might be disastrous if you have freshly-colored hair, especially with bright colors like red. The result may be in different shades of red and orange. This is better suited for faded red hair. 

You can either use apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. If you prefer the ACV, mix two tablespoons of ACV with two cups of hot water. If you use white vinegar, use equal amounts instead and apply it as evenly as possible. 

As preparation, wash your hair first. The processing time usually takes 10-20 minutes. It helps if you have a shower cap during that period. Rinse it off with warm water thoroughly. 

Do the vinegar rinse 1-2 times a week to help with your fading process.

2. Baking soda

That’s right! Your trusted cleaner comes and saves your day again! 

Baking soda has great stripping qualities — and it does not stop with oil and grease. 

You can also pair it with home products like lemon juice, peroxide, ACV, dish soap, and Epsom salt! However, in terms of popularity and ease, baking soda and anti-dandruff shampoo have been the duo of choice. 

Here are the steps on how to remove red hair dye with baking soda and shampoo. 

  1. Wash your hair with shampoo and rinse with cold water beforehand. 
  2. Mix two tablespoons of baking soda and anti-dandruff shampoo until it is smooth and creamy.
  3. Massage the mixture on your hair using a circular motion, starting from roots to tips. 
  4. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. 
  5. Wash your hair with anti-dandruff shampoo and condition.
  6. Rinse thoroughly until no more product is left. 

Using this method at regular intervals can help your hair fade gradually. 

You may use a 1:1 ratio instead and let it sit for 20 minutes. For optimal results, do this for 3-4 consecutive days. 


TL;DR How do you remove red dye?

I. Commercial products

  1. Darker hair dyes for covering up 
  2. Ash-toned dye of the same color level for tone correction
  3. Green toners and shampoos for red undertones
  4. Color removers, especially for permanent hair dyes

II. Homemade option

  1. Vinegar rinse
  2. Baking soda with anti-dandruff shampoo

Both homemade options work well for semi-permanent hair dye and faded red hair. 

Whatever you try, always make your hair’s health a priority! 

Last Updated: September 6, 2022

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